By now every Muslim across the world should have celebrated Eid and a new month is upon us.
Saturday was our last fast and it was a busy one as Mo and I travelled across to the Yorkshire town where my (very large) family live, to visit and catch up with loved ones who we knew we wouldn’t get a chance to see on the day.
I also managed to find time to pop into the Trafford Centre to check out some of their celebrations, which I was excited about – it’s been really amazing to see how many mainstream companies and organisations are starting to recognise this all-important Islamic holiday! Of course, I also had some last minute shopping to do (face. palm).
I officially began my Eid celebrations with family on Sunday morning. Even with the rain, there was a great turnout at the park for the community Eid prayers. Followed by visiting more family, lots of good food and some real laughs!
The holy month of Ramadhan is now over and I personally feel like it passed way too quickly. I feel almost a bit in shock that everything is expected to return to normal.
I ran an #idealiftar competition over the last few weeks, which I really enjoyed hosting. There were so many great entries and I received some really nice supportive messages from non-Muslims, it was wonderful. The winning entry was from Sadia Iqbal who sent in a fantastic tweet of her ideal iftar at a Great Get Together community evening, in memory of Jo Cox. It completely captured the essence of Ramadhan to me – a worthy winner! (Congratulations again Sadia!)
At dinner the other day, one of my dear friends asked me:
“so what do you think you’ve gained during this month?”
I kind of paused. Partly because in my head there was so much I had planned for Ramadhan which I just didn’t get round to doing. With such long days, tiredness stopped me from being as productive as usual. It’s left me feeling a bit disappointed in myself.
But I knew that fasting this year reinforced my feeling of gratitude – a key element of why we do what we do.
When the weather heated up in the last week, all I wanted for iftar was a glass of water. I can’t actually describe that feeling of the cold glass in hand, the relief of feeling that same coolness travel down your throat. The throbbing headache from lack of fluid starts to slowly relieve itself. I didn’t even care about food on those days.
Filling the glasses ready to drink, it really hits you how privileged we are to be able to turn on a tap and know that the water gushing out is clean, cool and safe to drink. It broke my heart to think of those around the world, from all kinds of situations, who probably endure the same ‘fasting’ conditions we observed, not by choice. Feeling that sense of dehydration only to quench it with a warm drink, perhaps one that isn’t clean. If you look at world news right now, Yemen is currently suffering from the worlds worst outbreak of cholera – 14.5 million people are said to have been cut off from clean and safe water supplies. It really puts things into perspective.
From that moment, I’ve thought about that same feeling every day and I hope I continue to do so for the foreseeable. One of the problems with the month of Ramadhan is a lot of people assume its a month to behave, but it’s actually more about reflecting on your life and making long term changes.
Changes for your own good and that of others. Changes that make you a better person.
I am so grateful for everything I have in my life.
For my husband. My mum, my dad. My sisters. My brothers. My grandparents. All my crazy cousins, aunties, uncles… of which I have many (like seriously, hundreds). For my friends. Scattered all over the world.
For the privileges God has given to me throughout my life. For the tests he’s thrown my way. For the ambition and strength he has given me to do everything that I do.
For the fight he has burned into me these last few years. For the feeling that I want to be more than just a 9-5 TV watcher robot and for helping me feel that even just the one person can make a difference.
For opening my eyes to learning about the world. Through travel. Through politics, through hope and activism.
I’m going to end with a quote I heard recently… one of the worlds greatest singers of all time, the sensational Celine Dion, said that her late husband gave her a piece of advice that she will always remember.
“You don’t want a hit. You want a career”
And she said from hearing those words, that’s exactly what she set out to do. (And she did a bloody good job)
Now I too want to take those words of wisdom, I want to take everything that I love doing and not focus on just the one thing becoming a ‘hit’ – I want to throw the same amount of dedication Celine has put forward and turn my dreams of helping people into a career.
Turn my fight for humanity, politics and spreading hope into something more meaningful.
It’s not going to be easy, I know that. But we got through a month of 18 hour fasts, so surely anything is possible!
I just know that even if we don’t always have the answers, faith can carry us through so I won’t give up on mine.
Love comes to those who believe in it.
That’s the way it is
What career are you wanting to make for yourself? If you were fasting too, do you intend on carrying forward any life changes???